Fostering the culture of learning and sharing

Rupkatha Bhowmick

The Business Excellence Department (BED), under Dubai Economy, hosted the Best Practices & Benchmarking Forum 2017 on October 17 at Le Méridien Hotel, which drew over 400 attendees. This forum seeks to encourage participants to benchmark their best practices against a set of performance indicators related to business, customers, people and society. The forum aims to help businesses keep pace with rapidly changing market dynamics, increase productivity, improve quality of service through sharing of best practices and, importantly, focus on sustainable development.

“Under the directive of the UAE president His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, 2017 is the ‘Year of Giving’. The joy of giving, thus, was the key focus of the Best Practices & Benchmarking Forum this year. It revolved around the happiness of giving, which goes much beyond giving in kind. It’s about giving through knowledge, leadership and expertise,” explains Shaikha Ahmad Al Bishri, director, Business Excellence Department, Dubai Economy in an exclusive interview with Rupkatha Bhowmick.

Ali Ibrahim, deputy director general, Dubai Economy adds, “Excellence, as they say, is not a destination. It’s a journey that should continue. At Dubai Economy, we have made promoting excellence a culture and one of the strategic enablers of competitiveness and sustainable economic development. For Dubai to achieve its goal of growing into a Smart City of happy and creative people, we need to keep the excellence dialogue alive and increasingly vibrant. The Best Practices & Benchmarking Forum has met our expectations in advancing the excellence journey, with knowledge and experiences shared and inviting organisations to a world of endless possibilities.”

This year the Best Practices & Benchmarking Forum was attended by global and regional heads of big and small businesses alongside the winners of the Dubai Quality Award, Dubai Human Development Award, Dubai Service Excellence Scheme (DSES), Global Islamic Business Awards, International Business Excellence Award and top performers in the BED-EBM Benchmark Programme, a joint initiative between the Business Excellence Department and Emirates Business Management International Consultants.

“Started in 2000 the Best Practices Forum is one of the key initiatives at the Business Excellence Department. It is a highly relevant forum through which we aim to share best practices implemented by global companies as well as winners of the Dubai Quality Award, Dubai Human Development Award, DSES, Global Islamic Business Awards and International Business Excellence Award with those who are keen to learn and embark on the journey of excellence,” Al Bishri states.

“Having started a benchmarking system under the Business Excellence Department Awards two years ago, we eventually decided to add this component to the Best Practices Forum. What started small is today a key initiative in our calendar,” she adds.

This year at the Best Practices & Benchmarking Forum key international speakers shared best practices implemented by their organisations. One of the highlights of the Fourm was a panel discussion on how organisations can grow sustainably and contribute towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in that process. In addition, like every year, the winners got the chance to showcase their services to benefit businesses and the community.

In another interesting panel discussion titled ‘Gift of Quality to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals’, one of the participants Tahir Shah, founding partner of a local startup food concept Moti Roti touched upon sustainability initiatives from the food standpoint. Shah pointed towards the UAE Food Bank – a non-profit charitable organisation launched in January this year under the umbrella of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives – as a great initiative aiming to limit food wastage by distributing food to those in need. Several hotels, restaurants and supermarkets have been enlisted in the UAE Food Bank initiative.

On his part, Shah started an initiative called #FillingtheBlues, which was joined by his peers from the industry, wherein during Ramadan a group of these restaurants – which he jovially likens to The Avengers movie – get together to serve food to construction workers from a particular site.

“That’s the kind of compassion and sense of giving we are aiming to inculcate and spread. Even though we are seen as competitors, we come together and collaborate based on empathy. In the US, the ‘pay it forward’ model is quite popular. It would be wonderful to see such a model gaining ground in the UAE where one person pays for someone else’s food,” says Shah.

“I hope companies were able to learn from the Best Practices & Benchmarking Forum implementing best practices within their organisations and fostering a culture of giving, ultimately benefiting the government and the society,” Al Bishri concludes.